Incidence of varicose veins in the population is unknown. The study aimed at estimating the incidence of varicose veins in complete cohorts of 40-60 year-olds in a general population.
The study was conducted in the city of Tampere, Finland. A validated questionnaire (with 93% sensitivity and 92% specificity) was used in a general population of 6874 individuals (aged 40, 50 or 60). Initially, 3065 of them had no varicose veins and 78% were followed-up for 5 years.
157 individuals reported new varicose veins during the follow-up. The overall incidence was 13.5 per 1000 person years (8.5 for men and 19.2 for women). Female sex was an independent and statistically significant risk indicator of varicose veins (adjusted odds ratio, OR 2.4). The incidence was significantly higher at the age of 50-55 years (OR 1.6). Higher body mass index seemed to be related to higher risk of new varicose veins (OR 1.2-1.8), but the association failed to reach statistical significance. The level of education did not affect the incidence.
New varicose veins appear also in the middle-aged population, and the rate is linked with the female gender, especially at the beginning of the 6th decade.